Monday, October 10, 2005

Unequal Polarization

Mark Schmitt at TPM cafe has commented A new Council on Foreign Relations report that shows that "the current climate of partisan politics is weakening American leadership."

In particular I was struck by this graph
As Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson write in their fabulous new book, Off-Center: The Republican Revolution & The Erosion of American Democracy, "the problem is not just polarization. It is unequal polarization -- unequal between Democrats and Republicans, unequal in its effects on the governing aims of liberals and conservatives, and unequal in its effects on American society."

I agree on the unequal polarization claim. At least in the sense that the Republican/conservative party is being clearly absolutely rigid in their positions while the Democrats have given, to a far greater extent, the impression of taking no clear and firm position. I have been maintaining in these posts that the source of this distinction is the Republicans grasp of the need to present their case like attorneys at trial while the Democrats continue to argue more in the mode of scientists at a conference. It is not that Democrats have no firm opinions. However, they are aware of the uncertainties we face and, much to their detriment, have continued to express those uncertainties when trying to persuade the electorate. Should the Democrats get over that habit, or even reduce it substantially, I believe that their electoral chances will improve greatly.

This issue is also being discussed over at Kevin Drum's. See this post of his. And this post by Hacker and Pierson, and this post too.

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At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you forgot the no child left behind bill that seems to be leaving a lot of children behind.


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